Customer Engagement

Social listening and lead generation – the dynamic duo

Social listening can often seem like a swiss army knife – its applications are seemingly endless. We’ve shown you how it can help you become a market leader, how it’s indispensable for your SEO activities and how handy it is for marketing agencies.

This time, we’re going to look at sales – specifically, at lead generation. We know we sound like a broken record, but social listening is invaluable when it comes to helping valuable leads find you. In this brief article we’re going to describe some of the ways you can leverage the power of social listening to help you connect with potential customers.

1. Messaging – the key to success

The importance of correct messaging cannot be overstated. Too many times have we seen brands try to come off as relatable by referencing something from internet culture only to fail miserably. Rare is the marketing manager that actually lives and breathes meme culture!

The truth is, sincerity is valued more than anything else. In order to successfully market your product or service to any demographic, you need to speak its language – and speak it like a native. 

This is especially true with millennials and Gen Z – these are the people who grew up immersed in the online world. For them, memes are a second language. It’s an extremely impenetrable group, and it’s all by design.

You see, millennials and Gen Z arrived into a world full of advertisements and commercialism and decided that this won’t do. This is the adblock generation – they reject traditional forms of advertisements. To reach them, you have to be sincere. You have to be one of them.

Many have tried and few have succeeded. There’s a reason this single screencap from 30 Rock is still relevant.

So, what are you to do if you’re not a millennial? Unfortunately, there’s no substitute for spending most of your life in the deepest corners of the internet. Social listening can get you close, however.

For starters, it can allow you to monitor dozens of different topics and conversations your potential customers are participating in. There’s no easier way to stay connected to the Gen Z zeitgeist. By traversing through all these different threads you can get a sense of how your target audience talks and what topics they’re interested in.

This is all invaluable information – just think! A decade ago, you’d have to set up focus groups and surveys and other “invasive” methods of audience research. These days, all of that information is available at your fingertips.

2. The importance of good customer service

Let’s talk about customer service. We know, we keep bringing it up – we’re sorry, but as a company that deals heavily with the world of CS automation, we can’t simply not talk about it. Customer service and lead generation may seem like two completely different worlds. Nothing further from the truth!

In fact, statistics show that there’s no better way to lose customers than to offer poor customer service. This doesn’t just apply to your existing customer base, either – social media allows news of poor customer service to spread like wildfire, escalating into social media crises. There are ways to deal with them, of course – but by far the best one is not to allow one to happen in the first place.

In order to shift your customer service experience into what modern audiences expect, it’s no longer enough to be reactive. Being proactive is the name of the game. 

A lot of customer complaints can go unheard simply because they’re made in Facebook groups or in tweets that don’t tag your company’s profile. Social listening allows you to reach these customers and resolve their complaints before they get a chance to tarnish your reputation.

Remember – nothing exists in a vacuum. Being visibly proactive wil show potential customers that you care, which can influence their decision to pick you over the competition.

3. Discovering influencers

Going back to millennials and Gen Z for a moment – remember how we said that they are extremely hostile to traditional marketing methods? That remains true, but we neglected to mention what has been proven to work: influencer marketing.

If there’s anything we’ve learned dealing with the younger generations over the past decade, it’s that content sells. We live in an era of content – 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Content creators enjoy large followings – and that’s not surprising. Millennials and Gen Z flock to their own and shut out everyone else, especially the dreaded boomers – which is why so many of them become influencers through outlets such as YouTube and Instagram.

These influencers are also a perfect vector through which you can reach these demographics. This approach has one large advantage: you don’t have to worry about authenticity. After all, if a YouTuber wasn’t resonating with a large audience, they wouldn’t really be an influencer, would they?

Influencer marketing works and it only keeps growing. It’s estimated that by next year, influencer marketing will be worth $15 billion dollars.

Social listening will allow you to easily identify influencers and gauge their fit for your brand. Analysing your audience and comparing it to that of the influencer’s, you’ll always find a good match for your marketing campaign – from there, it’s just a matter of striking up a conversation to connect your brand to tens of thousands of young millennials.

4. Researching new opportunities

Like we mentioned earlier, social listening is a perfect market research tool. What was previously a lengthy and expensive focus testing process is now a lazy hour with a cup of coffee. So, how do you leverage that?

Well, you can start by researching your own brand. What are customers saying about you? What do they appreciate about your product, and what features are they missing? Are there any large personalities talking about your brand?

In quantum physics, the observer effect is probably the simplest concept to explain. A system that is being observed changes precisely because it is being observed. The same principle applies to traditional market research. Answers given during focus group testing can often be assumed to be slightly skewed. It’s simple human nature.

Social listening provides you with a way to stick your tongue out at quantum physics. It allows you access to candid, sincere opinions about your products and services. Some of these may be extreme – but all of them provide valuable insights that you wouldn’t be able to reach any other way.

This information can – and, honestly, should – influence your sales and marketing efforts. But you could go a bit further.

You’ve taken a look at conversations held by your potential audience – but have you taken a look at the audience themselves?

It could very well turn out that the people most likely to buy into your products aren’t just limiting themselves to using Facebook and Twitter. One of the biggest mistakes in social listening is limiting yourself to just a select few channels, when modern tools allow access to almost all of them.

It could very well turn out that a big chunk of your audience frequents Pinterest or Tumblr. Why not set up a presence on those sites, as well? With modern marketing and customer service tools, this is a matter of minutes – and it can result in untold numbers of people suddenly gaining exposure to your brand.

Finally, there’s the dirty trick of researching your competitors. Use their brand names as keywords and filter out only the negative comments and posts. Modern intent and tone detection algorithms make this as easy as a single click, after all.

What do the competition’s customers complain about the most? Are there any missing features that you can provide? Any customer service complaints that you can address?

There is something to be said for fighting dirty – after all, the modern business landscape is a ruthless one.

Closing words

As you can see, social listening provides you with a myriad of ways to expand your lead generation efforts. All it really boils down to is exposing potential customers to your offer – and thanks to modern social media and social listening tools, the possibilities are nearly limitless.

We’d know – after all, we’re the creators of SentiOne, a leading social listening and customer service automation solution. SentiOne allows its users to monitor more than five million sources and perform deep analytics on their audiences. Get in touch with us to schedule your free trial!